HAM Radio 101

Word of the Day: Topbander

For many Ham Radio enthusiasts, there’s no greater challenge than being a topbander—someone who operates on 160 meters(1,800 and 2,000 kHz). The oldest Amateur Radio band and, at one time, the lowest frequency band until 630 and 2200 meters came along, 160 meters is also known as the “Gentleman’s Band” due to its relatively calm activity compared to the cacophony operators often find on 80 and 20 meters. Being a topbander is certainly not everyone’s cup of coffee, especially if you have limited space to erect the large antenna required to make local and long-distance contacts on 160 meters. But for those with massive antennas, top-notch operating skills, and an abundance of patience, there’s no place like 160 meters—particularly when the sun spot cycle is fully cooperating.

If you’ve never logged Pitcairn Island on 160 meters, you’ll have an excellent opportunity in a couple of weeks. The VP6R 2019 DXpedition (October 18 to November 1) to the sparsely populated South Pacific island will be deploying DX Engineering’s custom-built 90 foot top-loaded 160M vertical, featuring heavy-duty hinged pivot base with custom base insulators to accommodate a 40 foot falling derrick made with three inch diameter pipe.

“We are near the bottom of our solar cycle. This makes good, efficient low band operation a must for every DXpedition,” wrote VP6R operator Nodir, EY8MM. “The Pitcairn Island DXpedition team takes this very seriously, and we bring one of the most experienced teams to the island to meet this challenge. We have carefully selected our equipment, both for transmitting and receiving. We think it (DX Engineering’s antenna) is going to perform very well on 160.”

DX Engineering sells antennas and loads of accessories for 160 meter operation, including preamps, band pass filters, amplifiers, and much more from leading brands.

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